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Full text of "NightRider"

his inward vision, was replaced by another and another, faces
of people he knew, faces he had merely seen for a moment and
had wondered about, the face of the old man with the purp-
lish wen on his temple, the old man he had tried to tell May
about that time, the old man who had been the only one to
sign up that time at one of the meetings way out in the sticks,
who had walked up to the front, oblivious of the other people
as if he had been in an open field, and had said, " Boy, if
you'll gimme that-air pen-staff I'll sign my name," and then:
"I got me a little piece of ground nigh onto thirty years
back, All that time ain't no man said me yea nor nay, nor
go nor come. I'm gonna put my name down now, boy, and
if you say yea it's yea, and nay it's nay. What little crop I
got don't amount to nothing. My crop ain't a pea in the dish.
But I aim to sign." The words of the old man with the
purplish wen on his temple were as clear to him as if he
heard the voice saying them out loud to him that minute. He
tried to phrase for himself the effect the recollection of the
man always had on him, but he could not. He had never
been able to do so. And he had not been able to do so for
May, who had sat on his lap listening, or trying to listen, to
his insufficient speech. What held him to the old man? He
could not say. But what had held him to the Senator, he
knew that. His vanity. He had been flattered. The Senator
had touched his vanity. What spring of action, more obscure,
more profound, had the old man touched? A deeper vanity.
A vanity below another surface, which had been peeled away.
It did not matter what name a man gave it.

He rose from the bed, not restlessly as a nervous man does
at night when he cannot sleep, but deliberately and com-
fortably as if the night were the new day. He walked across
the room and leaned on the wide ledge of the window and
looked over the lawn, There was no moon, but in the swimming
starlight the newly springing grass looked pale, except where
the shadows of the cedars lay. Those shadows were of inky
feckness. He looked across the yard and toward the fields
beyond, and thought how night changed everything, even